Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 40 Songs & Top 10 Albums of 2008

As we count down to the final hour of 2008, I hereby present my Top 40 songs of 2008. Only the first ten songs are in order of favour, the remaining 30 songs are listed in terms of what I feel makes a good playlist. 

TOP 40 SONGS OF 2008

1.   I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
2.    Bleeding Love – Leona Lewis
3.       Rock With U – Janet
4.       Let It Die – Foo Fighters
5.       Hot N Cold – Katy Perry
6.       Don’t Stop The Music – Rihanna
7.       American Boy – Estelle featuring Kanye West
8.       Hold My Hand – Akon & Michael Jackson
9.       Greatest Day – Take That
10.   Love Is Noise – The Verve
11.   Viva La Vida – Coldplay
12.   Nine In The Afternoon – Panic At The Disco
13.   Long Road To Ruin – Foo Fighters
14.   Cheer Up, Boys (Your Make-Up Is Running) – Foo Fighters
15.   Gotta Be Somebody – Nickelback
16.   Human – The Killers
17.   Check Yes Juliet – We The Kings
18.   That’s Not My Name – The Tings Tings
19.   Built To Last – Melee
20.   The Man Who Can’t Be Moved – The Script
21.   The Resolution – Jack’s Mannequin
22.   Feels Like Tonight – Daughtry
23.   Won’t Go Home Without You – Maroon 5
24.   Make It Mine – Jason Mraz
25.   Waiting On The World To Change – John Mayer
26.   Dreaming With A Broken Heart – John Mayer
27.   I Kissed A Girl – Katy Perry
28.   In My Arms – Kylie
29.   Everyone Nose (All The Girls Standing In Line For The Bathroom) – N.E.R.D.
30.   Closer – Ne-Yo
31.   Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) – Beyonce
32.   Love In This Club – Usher featuring Young Jeezy
33.   Break The Ice – Britney Spears
34.   Miles Away – Madonna
35.   Better In Time – Leona Lewis
36.   Miss Independent – Ne-Yo
37.   Like You’ll Never See Me Again – Alicia Keys
38.   Sing For You – Tracy Chapman
39.   Love Lockdown – Kanye West
40.   Another Way To Die – Jack White & Alicia Keys

And here are my Top 10 Albums of the Year. As mentioned, some of them are leftovers from 2007, but they only "hit" me this year, so I'm lumping them as under 2008.


10. Back To Black - Amy Winehouse

When Ms Winehouse is sober, she's capable of producing more than decent music, as this album proves. She has become the Britney of 2007, so I hope she will turnaround next year and create some more good music.

Choice Cuts: Rehab, You Know I'm No Good, Me & Mr. Jones, Back To Black, Valerie

9. As I Am - Alicia Keys

The talented Alicia Keys continues her amazing streak of hit albums and As I Am is no exception. She might not have been nominated for many Grammys this year, but this is certainly a good album. Grab the Super Edition of the album for three very worthy bonus tracks.

Choice Cuts: No One, Like You'll Never See Me Again, Superwoman, Another Way To Die, Saviour

8. Spirit - Leona Lewis

2008 has been good to Leona Lewis. She performed at the closing ceremony of the Olympics, scooped up an award at the MTV Asia Awards, topped both the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard 200 charts and was nominated 3 times at next year's Grammys.

She is one gal who can really sing and I believe she will go far. Hope this is only the start of more good things from her.

Choice Cuts: Bleeding Love, Better In Time, Yesterday, I Will Be, Footprints In The Sand

7. Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends - Coldplay

Coldplay also had a great year. Expectations for their fourth studio album were sky high and they not only met them, but well surpassed them. And they saved EMI's fortunes in the process too.

This is their best album since they hit the scene 8 years ago. Unsurprisingly, they have been nominated for 7 Grammys next year, 1 less nomination than Lil' Wayne, but scooping nods in the 3 major categories. I hope they win big!

Choice Cuts: Viva La Vida, Violet Hill, Lost, Lovers In Japan, Life In Technicolor ii

6. Discipline - Janet Jackson

No matter what the others say, I will still support Janet and continue to do so. But anyway, I feel that Discipline is her best album since All For You. Granted, there are still some filler tracks, but the first 5 songs totally rock!

And to those people who think that she should remove all the interludes betwheneen the songs, they simply don't understand Janet. She's been doing the interlude thing since Rhythm Nation, way before Justin or Coldplay did it. But her interludes are non-musical, and they serve the same purpose - which is to make the album more coherent, the transitions between songs smoother and most importantly, tell the story.

I really loved the Rock Witchu Tour, based on what I've seen on YouTube. Pity it's not going anywhere else. I highly doubt the Japan dates are going to happen. Hope there will at least be an official DVD release for the tour. Anyway, you go girl!

Choice Cuts: Rock With U, Feedback, 2Nite, Luv, Rollercoaster

5. Hairspray - OST

Along with the most joyful movie musical comes the most joyful soundtrack, and this soundtrack has officially replaced Grease as my favourite soundtrack of all time!

Every character in the film is perfectly cast, and that means they have the talent to carry not only the role well, but sing the songs well too. Particularly ooustanding is the lead actress, Nikki Blonsky, who was previously an unknown.

The arrangement of the songs are superb, and besides lending themselves to great choreography in the film, they stand alone well individually as songs too. You really can't help but sing along to the songs when you listen to them.

Choice Cuts: Good Morning Baltimore, Without Love, You Can't Stop The Beat, Come So Far (Got So Far To Go), I Can Hear The Bells

4. We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. - Jason Mraz

I've always admired singer-songwriter-musicians like Dave Matthews, and Jason Mraz is a great example too. Watching clips of him perform live, you can tell that he has a knack for coming up with catchy lyrics on the spot. And he uses his lyrical prowess to great effect in this album, as always.

It's a great album to listen to when you're on vacation or on the beach. Just chill along to his soothing voice and feel-good music. 

Choice Cuts: I'm Yours, Live High, Love For A Child, A Beautiful Mess, Make It Mine

3. Continuum - John Mayer

This is one of the hangover albums from 2006 in fact, but I only bought it this year, after they released a special tour edition with a bonus CD of live tracks. 

John Mayer reminds me a lot of Dave Matthews because of his voice. And also the fact that he plays guitar and writes his own songs. He's an extremely talented fella, and I would say even more so than Jason Mraz, but just below Dave Matthews. But it's not about comparing talent of course, and each of them has their own strengths and characteristics.

Choice Cuts: Waiting On The World To Change, Dreaming With A Broken Heart, Slow Dancing In A Burning Room, In Repair, The Heart Of Life

2. Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace - Foo Fighters

It's been a while since the Foos released a really solid album, their last great one being their second album, The Colour And The Shape. I mean, the albums in between had their moments and standout tracks - certainly the song All My Life is one of my faves - but they weren't well-rounded enough to be considered a great album.

Echoes is their sixth studio album, and thankfully, they have managed to reverse the cycle and produced their best album - ever. Shape used to be my favourite but Echoes has surplanted that. Well done, Foos!

This album marks their maturity as the band members get older and have kids and have a different outlook in life. Dave, for one, doesn't scream as much as he used to. He actually has a very nice singing voice, and he uses that much more in this album, particularly on the softer tracks such as the closer, Home, which is a piano-driven ballad, something they wouldn't, or couldn't have done 10 years ago.

After recording one half of an album of acoustic songs for In Your Honor and subsequently going on an acoustic tour, they have also learnt how to incorporate strings and keyboards, making them sound fuller and giving their music more texture.

Rightly nominated for Album Of The Year at this year's Grammys, it was a pity it didn't win. But it won Best Rock Album and Best Hard Rock Performance for The Pretender. They're taking a much-deserved break now after a marathon world tour (he better rest that throat). Let's hope they come back fresh and ready to rock again in 2010!

Choice Cuts: Let It Die, Cheer Up, Boys (Your Make Up Is Running), Stranger Things Have Happened, The Pretender, But, Honestly

1. One Of The Boys - Katy Perry

I had a really hard time deciding between #1 and #2, and I finally decided to place Katy as #1 because it is legitimately an album released in 2008, whereas Foos' album was released in 2007. But I must say that Katy's album is really damn good, especially since it's her debut album!

She emerged out of nowhere with I Kissed A Girl and dominated the charts around the world. Hot N Cold is flooding the airwaves everywhere now. But her best is yet to come. At this point in time, out of the 12 songs, there is only 1 song that I don't like as much as the others. So I really like the other 11 songs!

I was hooked on Thinking Of You for a while (it's her next single), but recently I've been addicted to Lost. And slowly, it's turning to I'm Still Breathing. All these 3 songs are ballads, and in spite of her being known for her upbeat songs so far, I feel that she really shines on the slower songs. Her voice is tender and she conveys her emotions well.

Katy wrote or co-wrote all of the songs here, and I'm really impressed by the lyrics, especially since I don't normally pay as much attention to the lyrics as the melody and music. But she's really very witty and she has come up with some of the most memorable lines this year.

E.g. on Ur So Gay
"You're so sad maybe you should buy a Happy Meal
You're so skinny you should really SuperSize the deal"

On Mannequin:
"Cos you're not a man
You're just a mannequin
I wish you could feel that my love is real
But you're not a man"

I like this album also because it's a straightforward pop album. It utilises real instruments, real drums and the songs can be played live. Too many albums these days mix R&B and hip-hop and they just sound so generic. And their vocals sound so processed and you know they can never be performed live.

This album is full of hit singles and I hope they go deep on this one and release many sngles. If Rihanna can do it, why can't Katy? Though Ur So Gay will probably get banned in Singapore as well. 

Go listen to the ballads I mentioned, you won't regret it. Album of the year.

Choice Cuts: Lost, Thinking Of You, I'm Still Breathing, Hot N Cold, I Kissed A Girl


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